Smoked Haddock with Poached Eggs

John Torode gets indulgent with a deliciously flaky smoked haddock dish, cloaked in buttery hollandaise sauce
Smoked Haddock with Poached Eggs
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the eggs

  • 100 ml malt vinegar
  • 4 eggs

For the sauce

  • 6 tbsp white wine
  • 6 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 300 g melted butter
  • pinches salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only

For the fish

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 x 100 g pieces smoked haddock


1. For poaching the eggs; fill a large deep saucepan with boiling water from the kettle. Use the deepest pot that you can find - you may need to boil the kettle a few times. For every litre of water add 50ml of vinegar.

2. Bring the water to a rolling boil and reduce the heat so the water is at a simmer.

3. Break the eggs as closely to the water as possible and drop into the water - the egg white should set before hitting the base of the pan. If you are using a 5-litre capacity pan, you can cook 4-6 eggs at a time. Keep the water barely 'trembling' by adjusting the heat.

4. Each egg will take 2 -3 minutes to cook and will float to the top of the water. You can test they are ready (soft-centred) by gently lifting them from the water with a slotted spoon.

5. Drop the eggs into a pan filled with cold water. They can be reheated when required.

6. For the sauce; put the white wine and vinegar into a pan with the peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, and then let it bubble for about 5-8 minutes, until reduced down to about 3 tablespoons. Leave to cool, and then remove the peppercorns and bay leaves.

7. Break the egg yolks into a big non-reactive metal bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Whisk in about a tablespoon of the vinegar reduction. Continue to whisk for a few minutes until the mixture turns pale and the whisk begins to leave ribbon-like trails.

8. Remove the bowl from the heat and, little by little, whisk in the melted butter, making sure each addition is whisked in completely before adding the next batch.

9. Keep whisking until all the butter is incorporated and the sauce is thick and creamy. Have a bowl of hot water handy - you can add a tablespoon if you feel that it might be about to scramble.

10. Beat in the salt and lemon juice. Set aside and keep warm.

11. For the haddock; Heat a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and when hot, cook the fish, skin-side-down, for 3 minutes until the edges are brown. Turn the fish over, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

12. Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil and drop in the eggs. Reheat for 1 minute before draining on kitchen paper.

13. To serve; arrange the fish on 4 plates, top with an egg and accompany with the sauce.

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